Friday, July 13, 2012

Olympic Rings and a new classroom theme

Our theme/unit for summer school is the 2012 Olympics, and as I was searching for materials, I came across the official posters for the London Olympics. I'll be honest - not many impressed me. Maybe I'm just not artistic enough! But one, by artist Rachel Whiteread, really caught my eye:
She took all five of the Olympic rings and combined them in an abstract way to create this really cool print!

...And then I thought...my kids can do this!

My staff and I raided our recycling bins and brought in empty paper towel and toilet paper rolls and this week, our kids used blue, black, red, yellow and green paint to create their own abstract Olympic ring prints, using the cardboard rolls as stamps. They turned out so great, and they had lots of fun doing this, too.

(You can see the edge of our torn paper version of the traditional Olympic rings hanging on the wall beside our abstract prints.)

Now, I'm linking up with Surfin' Through Second to talk about my classroom theme for next school year.
Classroom themes are tough for me. I love them, but I struggle to find themes that are age-appropriate for my students, who are middle school aged but function at a preschool/kindergarten level, cognitively. This year, our theme is rock stars. I don't go "all out" with our theme, but it does feature heavily into classroom decor, etc. Since I have my students for several years at a time, I try to change it up instead of keeping the same theme each year.

I've gone back and forth on my theme for next year, but I've finally decided on pirates. The deciding factor was a great pirate decor set from North Star, an awesome Michigan-based teacher resource company...their pirates look "real" and not "cute" or childish...perfect for my middle schoolers! I just ordered their bulletin board trimmers and bulletin board set today:
I love it! The bulletin board set will be used (among other uses) outside our classroom door. We are required to have posted where our classroom is (if not in the room) because we constantly have people looking for us - nurses for tube feedings and/or meds, physical/occupational/speech therapists for sessions or pull-out kids, parents, etc. - and we're out of our classroom a lot for specials and therapies and various activities. My heading is going to be, of course, "Where Arrrrggghhhh We?" because I'm a dork and love a good (or bad!) pun. ;)

A couple other pirate things I've found are:
Pirate "Happy Birthday" banner for our display of class birthdays. $1 at the Dollar Tree!

Skull and crossbones tablecloth from the party aisle at Target. This is going to go on our reading table!

9 comments:

  1. Our summer school program has also decided that it's theme this year will be the Olympics. I would love to see how you are incorporating this theme into other areas of the school day!

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    1. Lauren, we use the Unique Learning System curriculum, so most of our theme activities come directly from that summer unit. I will be posting more of what we do, apart from curriculum materials, as the summer goes on and the "real" Olympics begin. Some things in the works for our classroom are being involved in planning and implementing a school-wide mock Olympic games, and tracking, counting and graphing medals won by Team USA. I'll be sure to post about those and any other applications we experience!

      Kara

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  2. Kara, thanks for following my blog! I'm your latest follower now too! The pirate theme sounds really cool. There's a really great song by Jack Hartmann called "Going on a Treasure Hunt". I also got a treasure chest lunch box, filled it with candy, wrote several clues, and had the children hunt for their candy treasure. We did that after reading the book "Pirate Treasure Hunt" by Jan Peck. It's a really funny book with lots of opportunities for movement and learning position words. I really hope this is useful for your kids. I would love to hear more about how your children like the new theme.

    Sharon Dudley, NBCT
    http://teachingwithsight.blogspot.comm

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    1. Sharon, thank you so much for the great ideas! I'll be sure to check out Jack Hartmann's song (I love his music, but sometimes it is a bit childish for my students' tastes). And I'll definitely take a look for that book - it sounds great! Thanks again!

      Kara

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    2. The jack Hartman song is available on YouTube as well :) you can try it out without having to invest any money!

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  3. I love the Pirate Theme. It's nice that you are incorporating it into the upper grades. I think your students will love it! Thank you so much for linking up:)

    Aloha,
    Corinna
    Surfin' Through Second

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    1. Thanks for a fun linky, Corinna!

      Kara

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  4. Kara, I'm happy you love pirates as much as me. We had the BEST summer revolving around the pirate theme. Not sure if you guys have Party City stores out there, but if you do.. Go immediately! Their pirate stuff is on clearance and I was able to feet some great stuff for CHEAP! Including a Swashbuckling Songs CD by Disney for 50 cents! Amazing and so much fun. Love your Olympic ideas too. I did an Olympic unit during the last winter olympics it was so fun. Looking forward to seeing how your pirate theme develops :)

    -Timaree

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    1. Timaree, thank you so much for the heads up about Party City! There is one on the other side of town; I'm definitely going to check it out while I'm out and about tomorrow! I'm excited!

      Kara

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